A little untimely with this entry, as the story has been on the Chinese web for a over a month now. However, it would be remiss not to cover it. Regular readers may recall reading on the pages of this hallowed journal, that former Rangers and Scotland defender Maurice Ross blasted Beijing Guoan’s standards of professionalism, after leaving the club at the end of last season. He made a number of allegations, none of which cast the 2009 champions in a good light.
Despite the interview appearing in Rupert Murdoch propaganda publication The Sun, it did not escape the attention of Beijing Guoan who, in this Sina Sports story, say his open criticism is even more unprofessional than his allegations. He is accused of being two-faced (两面三刀 liang mian san dao, which translates literally as two-faced, three knives).
Ross’ allegation that the chairman, coach and captain pick the team seems to mystify the club, a spokesman for Guoan says “Where did he hear that from?”. The spokesman also says that, when Ross left Guoan he said he felt the club was professional, so how did his opinion suddenly change? The reasons for Ross’ absence from the starting 11 for much of the second half of the season is put down to tactical reasons. The club concludes by saying Ross behaviour ultimately only made him leave a bad taste in the mouths of Guoan’s fans.
Analysis: What we can see here is a classic culture clash. Chinese tend not to make critcisms directly, and strive to avoid saying anything negative in public. This is why Ross’ criticism of the club in The Sun newspaper is perceived to be two-faced. Had Ross taken someone in the club management aside and expressed his concerns in private, he would have at least been listened to and his comments maybe would have been taken onboard. After all, his allegations that some Chinese players are overweight, miss training, and have a less than professional attitude did not shock anyone familiar with Chinese football. What’s also interesting is the Sina Sports article mentions that Ross said Guoan did not compare favourably against Korean and Japanese oponents faced in the Asian Champions League. That’s another cultural faux pas, China always compares its progress against its near neighbours, and saying Korea and Japan are better than China is a sure-fire way to really piss off most Chinese. As the first Scottish player to play in the Chinese Super League, Ross leaves behind a rather poor impression.